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We are a society obsessed with romanticism and relationships.
Today, I posted a cute pic of me in a pretty white skirt, blue T-shirt, and cowgirl boots. I captioned it: “Been waiting months for this date. Ooo! The anticipation!”
Loads of people liked, hearted, and commented, which is sweet. There was also lots of: “You look lovely. Good for you! Have a wonderful time.”
What I did not mention in that post is the date was with my mom, who just so happens to be one of my favorite people in the world and who I naturally glow for.
Did I intentionally misrepresent myself? Hmm, maybe a little.
There is a reason I call myself a conscious provocateur. I like to provoke people. I’m at least as curious as my damn cat, and twice as precocious.
It is curious to me that I had, the other night, posted a selfie looking every bit as cute, but with a caption about loving being a woman, that had gotten about half as many interactions. So, my presumption was this: it was the mention of dating that drove up the interest and support.
In this day and age, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be single, and there honestly never was. Yet, I think, many of us feel this quiet pressure to be romantically attached and we, as a society, are still certainly attached to our romantic stories.
Dare I say, obsessed?
I have been, and can be, overly relationship-driven and utterly romantically obsessed. And it neither looks nor feels good.
When in the grips of romantic obsession, everything becomes about the other person.
My focus narrows.
I catch myself forgetting myself and driving up my own anxiety. Stress amplifies these effects, and depending on how high the stress is, and how deeply I regress within its grips, I can put entirely too much pressure on my romantic connection to save me.
Of course, I know better than to do this, but there is a powerful undertow that can take hold from my subconscious, regardless of what I consciously know. I then have to drag myself back to the beach, catch my breath, dry off, and take a break.
We put a lot of pressure on our romantic connections. We don’t mean to, but it happens. We are often trying to make monogamous relationships function as if we live in isolation, and many of us do, especially lately. Historically, however, relationships have always developed in tribes and with the support of the community.
You’ve heard the phrase: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I believe the same is true about adults in relationships. And, no, I’m not talking about polyamory (unless that’s your thing—which is cool, but it’s not mine). I’m talking about healthy, happy, and functional monogamous relationships.
My most recent foray into the waters of romantic relationships resulted in my significant other and I hitting our individual, and shared, capacity simultaneously. Our adaptations to stress occur on opposite ends of the spectrum. That which is, in attachment theory, known as the anxious/avoidant dynamic. What that basically means is when I am stressed, I spew and chase. When he is stressed, he shuts down.
So, with respect to ourselves, each other, and the currently insurmountable stressors in our lives—we hit pause.
I honestly have no interest in romantic dating. The last few months have been hard on me, and my heart is truly still with He who Matters. However, I am a social creature when I am, and when I’m not, I am a hermit.
I am a romantic. I also have work that needs to be done in the realm of commitment. All this is leading me to a different way of thinking about dating.
First and foremost: I will be dating myself.
This commitment to myself will take shape in three ways.
Personally: My body—my capacity, neurologically and emotionally—comes first. This I have learned over the months of grieving and barely managing my migraines. I cannot move further or faster than my nervous system will allow. I need rest, good food, and exercise, all in moderation.
Professionally: My craft—writing—is also a devotional practice for me. I do best when I write multiple times a day. First in my journal with pen to paper, then on my computer in service to a book I am writing, a blog, or creating content for my business and community. I can go to a beer hall, a coffee house, or my front porch—as long as I f*cking write. I have written this many times and now I will write it again: “Writing is my first, second, and third love. Any man who wants my attention will need to be at least half as interesting.” (And worthy of writing about.)
Socially: I love taking myself out on dates. I even wrote a poem about it:
Be That Woman.
The one who goes out alone.
The one who dresses for herself.
Even if you’re married or in a relationship.
Even if you have friends.
Take a table.
Sit there as if you own it.
As if it’s yours—graciously.
Order an appetizer, ya know, the one you “shouldn’t.”
Hell, order two.
Sit there with a book.
Stare into space.
Talk to your waitress. Ask her name.
Put on your silk—for yourself.
Smear your lips red, then stain them darker with each deeply satisfying swig.
Fill your table with food!
Though couples swoon and pick at their dinners half-heartedly…
Savor every Gawd blessed bite!
Read, if you like.
Embody the mystery that is womanhood.
I am “that woman” and I love it.
Besides dating my sweet, sexy self, there are other beautiful beings I will be devoting time to.
I’ll be going on friend dates. Although I did turn one down this evening—with The Songstress—in order to write. I may have a slight crush on her, with her dark flowing hair, sparkly golden eyes, and gorgeous heart.
Then there are family dates. Did I mention my mom’s home for the summer? This is a big damn deal! We already committed to walking dates, soaking dates, and gardening dates.
Then we have granddaughter dates, which include singing, taking bubble baths, and eating lots of blueberries. And with the wee one comes my beloved daughter, in whom I am well-pleased.
By some gawd blessed twist of fate I find all this love within my circle, my heart, and occupying my space.
When I am in my skin, feeling my own wild rhythms, it all feels like being in love. Sensuality drips from my lips, hips, and fingertips. My curls bounce and flirt and my fingers sing songs straight to the soil from which I draw and plant life.
So, I ask you, dear reader: What in your life is asking for a date?
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